The Valiant 101 panel was held at 3:30pm on Friday of Wondercon.The purpose of this panel was to provide insight into the Valiant Universe for those that may not be familiar with it yet.
Hunter Gorrinson lead the discussion, along with the following panelists:
- David Baron
- Josh Johns
- James Asmus
- Dinesh Shamdasani
Dinesh started the panel by telling us about the history of Valiant. It was founded in the late 1980s by a group of Marvel creators that wanted to take a different approach to creating comics, by having stronger characters and a stronger relationship with their readers.
The current incarnation of Valiant launched in 2012, and quickly rose to get the award for best new publisher.
They then changed the conversation to talk about their characters. First up was X-O Manowar, which was described as “the gateway drug to the Valiant Universe”, and their flagship title. The premise is a Visigoth that is kidnapped by aliens, and manages to fight to acquire their most powerful weapon, the Manowar armor. When he breaks free, he is displaced through time to the current age, due to relativistic effects.
Dinesh hinted to us about the contents of the upcoming wedding issue, which they announced earlier that day. X-O Manowar is concerned about giving his people an heir, and he is in love with Sanna, so the wedding was made. Owly will return in the issue, and we will see Aric’s bachelor party, and of course, Armstrong will be there.
They told us a bit about Ninjak, how he is essentially a ninja James Bond. The series that they recently launched is telling multiple stories. When we finish them all, we will want to go back and re-read the series, because the main story and the backup story will converge in a way that will change our understanding of the events of the issues.
There is a goat, but we haven’t learned everything that is going on with the goat. Whatever is in the goat, it will be a big shift when it is revealed, and will be shocking. James Asmus also gave a nod to Steve Lieber, the artist on Quantum and Woody Must Die, adding brilliant visual storytelling to the book.
David Baron told us about Doctor Mirage, and that it is the love story for the Valiant Universe. It is about lost love, and what people will do to get love back. “It is one of the proudest moments of my 20 year career”, said David baron.
The Valiant came up next. Dinesh described it as Matt Kindt’s and Jeff Lemire’s baby. They wanted to play in the Valiant Universe, because it is unique in that it has characters and stories in multiple times throughout history. The Valiant takes advantage of that by telling the story about the fourth time the eternal warrior goes up against the Immortal Enemy. The first three times, Gilad was scarred by the Immortal Enemy. It is self contained, but will have an impact forever.
Next up, Bloodshot Reborn. They started out by noting that they have to be very careful about what they say about it. Bloodshot is in it, and he shoots people. It is a story that peels away the layers of who Bloodshot is. We also will get to look more into his past, and into the internal struggle he has felt doing the things he has done. Bloodshot Reborn sets a bar so high it will leave other publishers in its dust and set an incredibly high bar for Valiant to reach in the future.
This book will not be the typical superhero book. It has more in common with twin peaks than it does Captain America. They have begun work on the first 29 issues of the series, that is how far ahead, and how far into the future they are looking with this book.
They wrapped up the presentation by showing us the Valiant Origins: Bloodshot video. There will be 10 of these videos, each highlights a different character’s origin and recounts their early adventures. The next video will feature Livewire from the Unity team. They will be up every two weeks, throughout spring and summer.
There was time for a few questions.
First, someone asked about Shadowman, and when we are going to see more of him. Valiant answered that they talk a lot about Shadowman in the office, hinting that they have something in store for him, but nothing revealed yet.
Second, someone asked if we will see a Divinity ongoing series. The answer was surprising, they mentioned that the first 4-issue mini-series is only half of the story that they initially have planned for Divinity. They didn’t mention what exactly is coming next, but it was clear from the answer that something will be coming up. They also mentioned that something surprising will happen in Divinity 4, which will change things around a bit.
Third, someone asked about Rai, to which they responded that we should come to the panel tomorrow (Saturday), to hear what they have to say about Book Of Death.
Last, someone asked about the Gold Key characters, Magnus, Solar, and Turok. Valiant mentioned that they don’t have the rights at the current time.